David Brooks Explains Death

We were in the corner at the end of the bar. McMurphy’s Place. A place you really don’t want to find. So lets just say it’s off of Van Buren somewhere. 100 degree heat outside so the air conditioner was blasting. Snake with his usual. Canadian and seven. Lotsa ice. Hunched over at the dark end of the bar near the back, talking into his glass like it was some kinda microphone.

“So this David Brooks guy, he’s a priest, right?”

“No Snake. He’s the reasonable, level headed voice of the conservatives. He’s America’s leading conservative intellectual.”

Snake did a Danny Thomas at that. The booze sputtering out his nose. McMurphy with a bar rag. Saying nothing. Just wiping.

“Well the two guys talking to him, they kept smiling. Kept calling him Father Brooks.”

“Now, tell me again where you saw this?”

“I was down on the campus. University of Chicago. Checking out some uh computer labs or something. It was a building without a sign, so I walked in. Heard this yelling. Peeked around the side of the door and there they were.”

“Snake, what do you know about computer labs.”

“I know how to count, Roger. And I know how to follow instructions for ah, certain unnamed people who are always looking for business deals that require ah very little capital investment.”

“Capital investment? Geez, you were on a college campus, Snake.”

Snake beamed. His narrow eyes shone bright.

“So,” I asked him. Tell me what you saw?”

“This David Brooks guy. He was sitting in the front row of a deserted classroom. Sitting at the little desk. And these two older guys, couldn’t make out their faces because there was all sorts of shadows in there, they were walking back and forth, pacing in front of him.”

“These guys have names?”

“”Every time one would talk to the other, they’d use the same name. They’d say, ‘Thank you Mister K. Or My pleasure Mister K.’ And it was like that wasn’t even their real names. They just called each other that. Maybe it was that Kafka guy you talked about once?’

“No, I’m pretty sure it wasn’t him. But what were they talking about with David Brooks? What were they saying?”

They were all excited about something he wrote. Called it the July 14th Masterpiece.”

“I saw the column. Didn’t read it too carefully. Assumed it was the usual. ‘Open with reason. Tell both sides. Then get to the point—which is always the same: the rich people win. The poor people lose.’

“Oh,” Snake shook his head no. “It was more than that. These two bosses was all excited. They were telling this David Brooks something like, ‘this piece is the biggest piece of intellectual masturbation they had ever seen.’ That’s it. I remember now. Cause I remember them saying intellectual masturbation and I wasn’t sure how that could be much fun.”

“What else did they say?”

“Well, after the masturbation part, I don’t remember all of it. But it was something about all the budget deficit fighting going on right now. And what the two bosses were all excited about was that this Brooks guy wrote something saying that the battle of the budget was really about a battle against cheating death. About keeping people alive longer. And how that’s where all the health care money went. Keeping people alive longer. And how if we didn’t have to do that we wouldn’t have a budget problem.”

“No way. They did not say that. That’s crap.”

“Oh, they knew it was crap. That’s why the two boss men were so excited! They said that the way David Brooks dressed it up and made it looked so pretty with his 800 words was just worth a million dollars!”

“Yeah, so David Brooks gets to be the one to lead us to the decision as to who dies when?”

“Well yeah. And he even made THAT sound reasonable. He said something about how we weren’t gonna leave people with Alzheimer’s disease wondering out on a hill. And the boss guys, they LOVED that.”

“So David Brooks makes a connection between budget talks and death. Everybody gets lost in the intellectual fairyland wonder of the academy. We cut back care for the elderly. And the money goes to more coal power plants or corporate subsidies or whatever those two Mister K guys want”

“Well, I ain’t exactly sure of what you just said. But yeah, I think that was it. Way I saw it though was more like the 3 man teams that work State Street and Navy Pier crowds. It ain’t all that hard. 2 guys make a scene. Start yelling. Then the third guy slips in and starts lifting everybody’s wallet.’

“And David Brooks gets to help us all decide when everyone should die.”

Snake shrugged his shoulders. Looked up from his drink. And he said, ‘Yeah, that’s pretty much it. So, you buying this next round or what?’

One Response to “David Brooks Explains Death”

  1. Paul Haider Says:

    Roger, this is another good one. Brooks is not my favorite Canadian, as that honor belongs to Neil Young, but he is the only conservative writer whose written work doesn’t induce vomit or blood from my mouth. Although Brooks will always be wrong about his 2002 support for Iraq (where are those WMD’s?), he deserves credit for actually being a moderate Republican who hasn’t completely lost his mind; he was a 1983 graduate of the University of Chicago, and this confirms that he has a brain. Brooks also had the guts to appear on HBO’s Real Time with Bill Maher, which is the only TV program that I watch religiously. David Brooks would benefit from listening to Paul Krugman, or Paul Haider, for a change.
    Paul Haider, Chicago

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